A STAIN ON OUR RELATIONSHIP

November 26, 2012 -

John Heald

I had originally written the start of today’s blog yesterday. It was a piece about my thoughts on how some of the cruise directors I had spent the last few days and how they dressed, spoke and groomed their dangly bits with scissors and weed whackers and how that made me feel old. But after my experience this morning I decided to press delete on that and tell you about something else that happened to me. As you know, been travelling between Antigua and Miami and then Miami back to the Carnival Breeze and then back here to my room at the Interhyattarriot. During this time, I have worn my beloved blue blazer and my grey dress pants which after examination yesterday, I realised needed a serious bit of dry cleaning especially as I had spilled some fried onion that had dropped out of my sensational SeaDogs hot dog and onto my crotch.

Now, I could have used the hotel’s laundry service but to dry clean one jacket and one pair of trousers would have cost Carnival Cruise Lines, who are paying for my hotel room, a staggering $34…….yep……34 sodding dollars which is about what I paid for the trousers when I bought them from Big Bubba’s High and Mighty Store some years ago. So thinking of Carnival’s profits I decided to take them to a dry cleaning shop across the way from the hotel on NW 87th Ave. close to the office. In I went and was met by an old Asian lady. First, she gingerly held up my trousers and looked at me with distain. Her face registered a mixture of, “Ahhhh, so……..you very big fat man,” and then she inspected the stain on the crotch area. “You have big stain here mister,” she said. Now it was early. I was tired after the conference and had a busy day ahead so I wanted to say, “Yes, there is a stain which is why I have bloody well brought them in here to be cleaned!” But I didn’t because I am too nice, too British and instead I said, “Yes, I have been a naughty boy, ha ha ha.” She looked at me and then started to giggle and the laugh out loud. Yep, a 70-something, five-foot-nothing Asian dry cleaning lady was holding up my mammoth pair of trousers, staring at the stain on the crotch that the fried onion from my hot dog had left and was laughing at me and I could not understand.

But then I did understand. She was looking at me as though I was one of Bill Clinton’s interns but that wasn’t the worst of it because I knew who she thought my Monica Lewinsky was. Standing next to me dressed in a pair of tight denim shorts, a lavender shirt, clutching a man bag was my assistant Calvyn Shawn Champagne-Martens. She thought…….that we had ……………… and the stain………..oh, deep joy. As I turned to leave, Judge Judy Wong said, “You come back tomorrow, I get rid of stain, mister,” and then she laughed again even louder this time. Oh, FFS!

So here is some advice then. Never trust a skinny chef. Never hire a divorce lawyer who says he is happily married and hope you never get a gynecologist who is claustrophobic. And in the same way never take a pair of trousers with a stain on the crotch to a dry cleaner with Calvyn and his man bag with you…………nope……………don’t ever do that.

And on that note, on to today’s Q&A.

Ellen Lymington asked:

Can you confirm that on my B2B cruise on Carnival Destiny that I will be able to bring two bottles of wine? I called the so-called help desk at Carnival but got two different answers which is another example of the worst kind of customer service so often written about on Cruise Critic so can you tell me is it yes or no?

John says:
Hello Ellen Lymington,

Thanks so much for booking a fabulous back-to-back cruise on the Carnival Destiny and I know you will have a great time. I should point out that while I have no idea what is written on other sites, I do know that I have seen far, far more positive comments than negative ones about our customer service team and while I am sorry that you didn’t get a specific answer, I will say that we do have an excellent team shoreside and they are working hard to be even better. The simple answer is yes, you can bring two bottles and simply have them in your carry on and have both boarding passes printed to show security and you will be able to take both on board. I wish you a wonderful time on the Carnival Destiny.

Best wishes,

John

Aaron Rosa asked:
Hi John,

Thanks for the blog, it’s always a fun read. My wife and I cruised out of Galveston, Texas, for our honeymoon on the Carnival Conquest, and again for an anniversary on the Carnival Triumph. My wife had cruised Carnival before but I am now a full convert, too. I’d love to see more of the fleet, but the Galveston port is already only an hour drive away. When the Carnival Triumph and Carnival Magic relocate at some point, do you know which ships will replace them?

John says:
Hello Aaron Rosa,

Thanks so much for saying how you enjoy the blog and even more so how you enjoy sailing with Carnival – that is great to read. At the moment there are no plans to change the Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph but we shall see what happens down the road as we do tend to switch up our ships every few years to provide different experiences in other markets. Galveston remains a very important homeport for us and let’s see what the future holds.

Best wishes.

John

Manuela Werley asked:
Hi John,

I was wondering if you’re going to be on the Carnival Sunshine in July 2013? We are looking into the cruise leaving out of Venice. You might remember us. It’s my father Heinz whom you gave a roll of toilet paper to and told him to go to a bar and meet a nice woman. Anyway, it is three generations: my dad, my daughter and myself. We are hoping that you will be on this cruise. We love your antics and are up for some fun again. Let me know.

Thanks.

John says:
Hello Manuela Werley,

Yes of course I do remember that very well and what a brilliant sport your father was for doing that. I won’t be on the ship with you I am afraid but I know you will have loads of fun there and will truly love this ship and all she will offer. Please let me know if there is anything I can do before you sail and I hope you all have a fantastic time together.

Best wishes to all.

John

Marcus Williams asked:

My son is cruising with me on the Carnival Ecstasy December 3 and I wanted to tell you about him. He is attending UNH (University of New Hampshire) which is in Durham where he was born and raised. He is going to be getting his degree in culinary arts and is the star pupil of his class. As a reward for his hard work and endeavors, I want him to see the workings of the boats kitchens and would like him to follow your head chef around for the day. I know my son would enjoy this and also your chef would no doubt enjoy meeting my son who would be able to point out any areas that he sees where changes and improvements could be made. My son’s name is Glen Williams and our booking number for this cruise which is our second with Carnival is ******. I hope this can be arranged and mail me back with the answer and how to proceed when we get on the boat.

John says:
Hello Marcus Williams,

I am sure you must be very proud of your son and I wish him continuing success with his studies. While I don’t think we can have your son follow our chef around for the entire day I will certainly ask him how he feels about having your son visit the galley. This will be the chef’s decision and I think though that while he probably has reservations about having him there during operational hours at dinner time, etc., I am pretty sure he will be able to let him visit the galley at some point during the cruise. If this is possible he will contact you once you are on the ship. I wish you all a fantastic time and, again, many congratulations to your son.

Best wishes.

John

Rochelle Diallo asked:

Does Carnival have black comedians on the Carnival Sensation? I have a family cruise booked and want to make sure they have some comedians for us. Can you tell me who will be the ones doing the comedy on Carnival Sensation, November 29?

John says:
Hello Rochelle Diallo,

Thanks for bringing the family to cruise on the Carnival Sensation and you will be there soon having fun and laughing hard at the Punchliner Comedy Club. I should respectfully point out that we hire our comedians based on their ability to make our guests laugh out loud and not for any other reason. The two comedians for your voyage will be Diane Ford and Darren Sanders who is indeed African American. I hope you all have loads of fun.

Best wishes.

John

Noora asked:
Hi John,

My family and I will be cruising on the Carnival Breeze this December (22-30.12.). This will be our second cruise so far and our first cruise (two years ago) was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had (okay, let’s be honest here – the best one we have ever had). Unfortunately we live in Finland and cannot cruise as often as we’d like due to expensive flights and the time it takes to travel to the US. We are all very excited for our Christmas cruise and we are even joined by another family from Finland! This time we will be celebrating my dad’s 50th birthday (which happens to be on the 25th…!). We would love to surprise my dad somehow and already checked the Carnival web site if there’s anything we could do. I understood that we can order something online before the cruise? However, since my dad is paying for the cruise (thanks, daddy!), we cannot
order anything because he would be able to see this as everything we order beforehand must be paid by him. This is why we have a problem here and thus I’m asking you if there is anything we could do for his birthday besides ordering something before the cruise? Hope you have a pleasant rest of the week and greetings from Finland! 🙂

John says:
Hello Noora,

It is wonderful to hear from you and I am very excited to be heading back to your beautiful country when I sail there next year on Carnival Legend. I will, indeed, send your father something and I am sure you will all have the most wonderful time on this fantastic ship.

Best wishes to all.

John

John Mowbury asked:
John,

I have to tell you we just got off the Carnival Miracle and had an awesome time. There were many highlights but I have to mention one to you and the readers of your blog. We ate at Nick & Norah’s steakhouse which was incredible and the best dining experience we have ever had. I could not believe it was only $35 per person because I know at similar restaurants where we live in Philadelphia would have charged triple or more to get that kind of food and service. Just want to share this and thanks, Carnival, for another fantastic cruise, our fifth now in three years.

John says:
Hello John Mowbury,

What a wonderful post and what a great advert for our steakhouses. I agree, of course, that a land- based restaurant of similar quality would have cost far more and value for moneyour steakhouses are hard to beat. Thanks again for taking the time to write and I hope we will see you again on another cruise with Carnival very soon.

Best wishes.

John

Tracy Moore asked:

The drinks on the Alchemy Bar menu sound terrific. Will they be available at bars on the ships that don’t have the Alchemy Bar? We are sailing on the Carnival Breeze in January and I would love to try them.

John says:
Hello Tracy Moore,

There are now three ships with Alchemy Bars and more coming next year. Most of the cocktails we serve there are specific to these locations but some are available on all the ships. If there is one specific cocktail you would like to know about, please let me know and I will find out if we serve this across the fleet. I hope you get to visit an Alchemy Bar very soon.

Best wishes.

John

Gale Graham asked:
Hi John!

I have a souvenir idea for Carnival. I love cruising with Carnival (scheduled for the Carnival Glory 12-2-12 and the Carnival Destiny 1-21-13) and I like to collect pressed pennies. The machines are hard to find in the different ports and I would like to have some pennies from each cruise. Carnival could put them in the cruise terminals or on each ship. The machines are usually hand cranked so no need for electricity. Examples include the name of the ship, the Carnival funnel, a picture of the ship, Fun Ship Freddy and the ports of call. I didn’t know where to send my suggestion to but I love reading your blog and thought maybe you would. I was lucky enough to see you perform the bedtime story on the Carnival Dream. It was hysterical.

John says:
Hello Gale Graham,

Now I am not sure if it was you that mentioned this some weeks ago on my Facebook page but someone for sure did and I thought then what a good idea this was. I have since mentioned this to the beards and let’s see if they decide to run with it. Thanks for the kind words and I will keep you informed as to any progress with this. Hope to see you soon.

Best wishes.

John

Cheryl Ann Pichette asked:
John,

I am so upset that Carnival is canceling assigned seating on the Carnival Sunshine. I just read this and am now having serious thoughts about canceling the cruise as I hate anytime dining. I want to have the same waiter who will anticipate my needs and know my name and this won’t happen with anytime dining.

John says:
Hello Cheryl Ann Pichette,

I am not sure where you read this (actually, I am sure but am being nice by not saying) but regardless of where you read this, I can tell you it is not true. The ship will offer both assigned seating with the usual early and late sitting and your time dining as well. Please don’t worry then and instead get ready for a brilliant time on a brilliant ship.

Best wishes.

John

And we will stop there. Thanks to you all for your comments and questions and I will be back with more questions answered soon.

So here I am, back in my underpants, in my hotel room writing to you after a few days away while I was at the cruise director conference. It was great to see all my colleagues again and I think they all had a great time listening, learning and enjoying everyone’s company. We discussed a lot of things and I have already mentioned a few of them on Facebook but wanted to mention a few more here on the blog.

Let’s start with bingo. I remember when I first started in the entertainment department we sold big and heavy cards that had little windows on them so every time a number was pulled from the dice cage you had to slide the window across the number. You then called “bingo” and if you were lucky…..you would win our jackpot of $30. Obviously, things have changed. We now have modern bingo machines and disposable cards and big jackpot prizes. But we are going to be giving even bigger prizes away and will make the bingo sessions even more fun with special games and a snowball prize that will be the biggest we have ever given. This will be a feature on all the ships and I will have more details soon. One change you will see immediately is that on nights where we have 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm shows, we will no longer have a bingo game before the shows as we do now at 8 pm and 10 pm. This was decided because of seat saving concerns and because we can concentrate more on the afternoon multiple game sessions. If there is one show at 8:30 pm such as a talent show then yes, we will hold a bingo game but for the very most part, there will be bingo games only on sea day afternoons and they will be more fun and we will give away……………..more money.

We also learned about the branding of our photo galleries. As you know branded areas such as RedFrog Pub and Cucina del Capitano have become a big success and so we have now started to brand our photo galleries, as well, with a new name, Pixels. Great name that, isn’t it?…..Pixels.

The new signage is already in place on Carnival Breeze and this week also on Carnival Magic and will slowly head across the fleet. There are some changes in the way we sell these as well. The borders of the photos will change as will the way you purchase them with more digital storage options available and there is a discount program in the works as well. Now I will have much more information on this later this week and more details on some of the options but it certainly sounds like we are moving ahead here which I know will please many of you. I will in future days also be telling you about other things we discussed such as how guests communicate on board and the brilliant new concept coming there to some new show ideas and much more so please stay tuned here and on my Facebook page.

So the Carnival Breeze is on her way on her first eight-day cruise and for those who don’t know where she is going, here is her itinerary.

  • Sat, Nov, 24 Miami
  • Sun, Nov, 25 at sea
  • Mon, Nov, 26 Grand Turk 7am-2pm
  • Tue, Nov, 27 La Romana 9am-5pm
  • Wed, Nov, 28 Curacao 2pm-11pm
  • Thu, Nov, 29 Aruba 8am-4pm
  • Fri, Nov, 30 at sea
  • Sat, Dec, 01 at sea
  • Sun, Dec. 02 Miami

I am, of course, not on board and won’t be again until the naming ceremony on December 8 and I will miss this ship immensely. This will probably be the last time I will write about this particular ship for a while as we move on to talking about the Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Legend and her brilliant itineraries and some surprises for 2014. But before we move on, I want to type you one last paragraph about the ship.

You know, we all live in a world that is “awesome.” Everything gets labeled awesome – except the things that should be, like the chap who played the Calvyn like villain in the new James Bond movie Skyfall or indeed rumpy pumpy with a Latvian which allegedly is extremely “awesome.” I, of course, use the word “brilliant” so much so that I know I am scorned about it on other web pages which for some part is understandable, I suppose. So when it comes to describing something that is truly and unquestionably awesome and brilliant, having used those words and many more like them, it is often hard to find a word that truly sums up something that is, well, brilliant. So then let me simply say this about the Carnival Breeze. When building, designing the ship and her features, Gerry Cahill and his beards knew exactly how to go about giving her the “wow” factor. And that word “wow” was something I heard so many times during the last seven months I have been on board and I heard it spoken in English, Russian, Dutch and with various regional American accents. I heard it from the 600 travel agents I met last weekend and from the many guests who recognised me and from those who did not. So then, Carnival Breeze is our best ship yet and is without doubt, a celebration of our ability to continue to move forward in our pursuit of fun for all.

So in closing, I will hope that you will take this fat bloke’s advice and book yourself some much deserved “wow” time on the brilliantly awesome……….Carnival Breeze.

OK, time to get in my compact car and head to the office for a day of meetings and Facebook. One feature our rent a car does have is Sillius digital radio or something like that. I have never seen this before but there are 150-plus channels featuring every kind of music style, loads of talk stations and everything in between. Calvyn and I have therefore been playing a game where each time we get into the car we choose a number between one and 150 and we have to listen to that station until we are at our final destination. Yesterday, as we drove back from the Carnival Breeze, Calvyn had obviously cheated because he chose channel 108 which is Out Q radio. I, therefore, enjoyed listening about an area in San Francisco where it’s apparently OK to be naked plus I sang along to some show tunes.

Then last night, as we drove to meet the CDs for the farewell dinner I chose channel 64 which was the Praise Channel which was better than local radio stations because they were too busy telling me that I would be sent to hell if I did not engulf myself in the Love of the Lord while choosing not to tell me about the five-mile traffic jam on I-95.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.